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In May 1992 the Russian nuclear submarine KONSOMOLETS was lost at sea off the Norwegian coast, this vessel contained and still dose nuclear weapons together with a nuclear reactor that is leaking, despite all attempts to seal off the submarine, retrieval of the vessel was deemed out of the question with the then state of the art technology available.

I therefor began work on a retrieval system that was low cost and was appropriate for the task required. I contacted large companies such as Xxxxx and Xxxxxxx and Xxxxxxx, etc. asking them first to sign a non disclosure agreement

I warned and pointed out the need for a system that would dock underwater with any two unsimiler systems, further that such a system would need to be deployable by plane helicopter to arrive at a emergency site within hours. I also pointed out that another situation would occur in the near future, and action had to be taken then, which it was not I then turned the technology round to encompass other salvage / sealing / deep-sea technology.

[ see additional files ]

Now that history has repeated itself perhaps people will again look at this technology, and since then I have developed and tested a rig to prove the concept and conducted test which have been successful i.e. the recovery of a large aircraft from the sea bed, using this technology see [ video ]

Therefore I propose the following. For the recovery of the Russian submarine KIRSK for all intents and purposes I see no other viable alternative both from a cost / technical / safety point of view other then the technology and systems set out as follows.

Apart from the huge scale of the equipment being discussed at present for the retrieval of the vessel and the cost of such the chances of success from a technical point of view / safety / and environmental aspects are very low. The following system I wish to deploy has a high degree of success / is safe and enviramently friendly, in addition to a low cost the equipment can be deployed and used in other emergencies / other commercial operations to justify the initial out lay.


Equipment / logistics

  1. medium tug boat and crew
  2. one commercial barge
  3. one or more large scale freezing plant
  4. one underwater ROV
  5. the development of one versatile freazmatt

Method of operation

A ROV will survey the damage and a freeze matt will be bolted together to suit the geometry required, the ROV will then place in position the freazemat rig over or around the damaged area or areas upon completion of this exercise the freezing system will be switched on and in a given time dependent upon time constraints a ice field will be generated with a suitable reinforcement medium sealing off all damaged points upon the vessel [ note the ice seal will with stand pressures far in excess of the dept of water in which the KIRSK lays. Upon achieving the required seal or seals, water will be pumped out of the vessel, and the kirsk will float naturally no ropes / lifting gear will be required and no man power i.e. diver will be required, the vessel will float to the surface naturally.


Trim can be achieved by suitable weighting or if required by sea anchors, on surfacing the vessel will be towed to a suitable dry dock.

This system is suitable foe the recovery of any vessel but is particuley suited to a submarine by virtue of the enclosed and normally water tight hull as against the open hull of a normal ship.

As the Kirsk will be full of water the pumping out of the water is not achievable by simply making a hole in the bottom or pumping out from a hatch, the internal water will be in various compartments and these may or may not be sealed however these points are understood, as is the natural buoyancy factor of such a vessel which is very low compared to its over all displacement. These points are discussed elsewhere

The above system has been proven from a technology point of view and the equipment is in existence, all that is required is the will and the small amount of financing required, bearing in mind this same equipment will then be available for new emergencies, and make no mistake they will occur.

A freeze matt is defined as a number of small bore pipes typically 50mm bolted / welded together in the form / geometry required to create a adhesive ice field, this ice field will have addition material in the form of small particles / stones dirt sawdust etc to break-up fracture zones in the ice as it is formed and to give addition strength rather like concrete, the purpose of the ice field is to seal and or encapsulate a object regardless of size. The freezing plant to run the system can be an open system or enclosed, can be remote from the freeze matt i.e. on the surface or adjacent, on , or in the target to be sealed or recovered. The freezing material can be a number of medium. Glycol, freon, propane, with and or open field circulators such as brine, this as a example only.

The above serves as a example only and is not exclusive to the submarine KIRSK as the system can be used in a Varity of ways.

A Cuthbert

Tel 01686 670 756




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